I'm heading out of town this afternoon to visit a friend in the far reaches of the frozen northern tundra--ok, just northern Indiana. She happens to live near a town where we used to have a reenactment, and when my mother and I showed up one year and rolled down our window to ask the nice toothless man at the gate of the parking lot where to park, he replied "I was wondrin' when all the purdy ladies is gonna show up," so I have certian prejudices against this area. Strangely enough, the next town over has a beautifully serene Japanese restaurant with the best bento boxes. Indiana is a strange little state of conradictions.
Anyway, thought I'd share the five things I'm most excited about packing up and heading out with:
1) A friend. While I do enjoy the occasional solitary car trip (great time for reflection and for singing along embarassingly badly with the radio), four hours of dull scenery is also a fabulous time to reconnect with a good friend. And, in this case, still sing along very loudly with the music. Which happens to be....
2) Music. I don't recommend relying on the radio in the booneys. Though you can find some really amazing programming (like the time my husband and I found the old-timey country music hour and bopped along to Patsy Cline and her ilk until the station fuzzed out), it's hit or miss. Mostly miss. My travel buddy and I have a set of must-haves with us on all car trips, most of which are sing-along-able. Included are the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack, the best of the Andrews Sisters (in which the classic "I Love You Much Too Much" became, inexplicably, "I Love Your Butt Too Much" in my car), and some Loreena McKennit for contemplative moments.
3) Coffee. Or other hot drink. Or soda. Except not too much soda because one time we were rear-ended on the highway and it took the police forever to show up to make the report and things were getting a bit desperate toward the end.
4) Printed copy of WIP. Last time we headed up north, I was at about this stage in my first project, and just sitting with it in the coffeeshop while one friend read, another graded, and we all sipped delightfully named specialty drinks was so beneficial. I started to really make connections and forge the overarching structure more solidly. Plus--sidenote--wow, I printed out what I've done so far and I didn't realize how far I'd already come on December (working title for WIP)! Sixty-four scrunched up single-spaced pages! Yay.
5) Those bento boxes. Ok, I'm not packing those. They'll be there when we go out for lunch. And here's the thing--it's not just the incredible spicy tuna roll that I'm psyched about (though, yeah, I'm psyched. And for the inari). It's that we're forming a tradition together, my grown-up friends and I, of not letting our friendship go flat just because we aren't in college living in a cardboard shack of a rental house together.
Looking forward to a relaxing, yet productive weekend in which I don't check my email a single time and the thought of queries or agents doesn't enter my mind. Because we all need a break once in a while, right?
Please feel free to share your road-trip essentials!